Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Shri Jasmine Shah showed his three educational degrees to the media on Monday under AAP’s recently launched ‘Degree Dikhao’ campaign. He expressed his disappointment with senior politicians of the BJP who refuse to show their degrees when asked, calling it a “concerning new trend.” He criticised them for calling their degrees “their private matter” and evading the question of showing their degrees to the public. Shri Jasmine Shah holds a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Technology (MTech) in Mechanical Engineering, both from IIT Madras. He also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University, which he completed in 2012. He expressed pride in displaying his education qualifications as it represents the opportunity for educated Indians to serve the people through mainstream politics with the Aam Aadmi Party.
Shri Jasmine Shah emphasised the importance of education and highlighted the difference between the education-focused model of AAP and the “printing shop model of politics” promoted by the BJP. He said that AAP is fighting against a mindset that devalues education, closes schools and colleges, condones the use of fake degrees, and evades providing transparency to the public.
Speaking at the press conference on Monday, he said, “There seems to be a concerning new trend emerging in the country at the moment where some of our topmost politicians in the country are refusing to show their degrees to the citizens if asked for it. When questioned about their alma maters, they merely mention the name of any university without providing any concrete evidence to support their claims.”
He took a dig at the Prime Minister, saying, “When asked from where he has completed his education, it is said that he has a degree from Delhi University and Gujarat University, but when asked to show his degree, a fine is imposed on the person asking. They respond by claiming that their educational background is a private matter and therefore refuse to comply.”
AAP has launched a fresh attack on the issue since the Gujarat High Court recently quashed a seven-year-old order of the Central Information Commission that had asked the Gujarat University to provide information on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s degree to Shri Arvind Kejriwal.
Shri Jasmine Shah spoke about the AAP’s ‘Degree Dikhao’ campaign and shared his educational qualifications. He said, “This concerning trend has prompted the Aam Aadmi Party to launch the ‘Degree Dikhao’ Campaign, which calls on politicians to display their educational qualifications publicly.”
As part of the campaign, senior party leader and Delhi Education Minister Ms. Atishi presented her undergraduate degree from the University of Delhi and two master’s degrees from the University of Oxford at a press conference on Sunday. Today, Shri Jasmine Shah, another senior AAP leader, came forward to share his educational qualifications.
Presenting his degrees to the media, Shri Jasmine Shah said, “I have earned three degrees, and I am proud to show them to you today. My first degree is a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, which I was awarded in 2004. I completed this degree after clearing the JEE exam and studying at IIT Madras, and the degree clearly states that it was awarded to me on July 30, 2004. I also hold a Master of Technology (MTech) degree in Mechanical Engineering, which is also from IIT Madras. This was a 5-year Dual Degree programme that I completed, and I earned both degrees from IIT Madras.”
He added, “In addition to these degrees, I also pursued a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University, which I completed in 2012. I invite the media to examine my degree, which includes the signatures of the Dean of the Faculty of International and Public Affairs and the President of Columbia University, along with an official seal from the university. The degree was awarded to me on May 16, 2012.”
As he showcased his degrees, senior AAP leader Shri Jasmine Shah challenged the popular stereotype that only those with little or no education enter politics. He expressed his pride in displaying his degree, as it symbolises that the Aam Aadmi Party provides an opportunity for educated Indians to serve the people through mainstream politics.
In a sharp jab at Shri Narendra Modi, who claims to have done his Masters in ‘Entire Political Science’ from Gujarat University, Shri Jasmine Shah quipped, “However, I am sad that I only obtained BTech and MTech degrees in Mechanical Engineering, not in ‘Entire Mechanical Engineering.’ He also expressed regret at not having a degree in ‘Entire Public Administration’ despite completing a full-time, 2-year program at Columbia University.
Shri Jasmine Shah emphasised the need for a strong education system in the country and highlighted the stark difference between the education-focused model of AAP and the “printing shop model of politics” promoted by the BJP. He also raised concerns over the closure of 60,000 schools in the country in the last 9 years of BJP rule. He contrasted the same with the Aam Aadmi Party government which has prioritised investment in education for the past 8 years, recognising its crucial role in building a better future for our country.
He said, “AAP’s model of politics is committed to building a 21st-century India that values education. It is our message to the youth of the country that education is vital for personal and national growth. We urge all young people to work hard and earn their degrees from reputable universities, as it is crucial for the progress of India in the modern era. Even the poorest of the poor prioritise their children’s education. It should go without saying that the education of the country’s youth is of utmost importance. ”
On the other hand, he criticised the BJP for promoting a model of politics where education is not given due importance and getting a degree means nothing more than paying fees and receiving a receipt. “According to them, to prove that you have a degree, one can simply stroll to a printing shop in the evening, pay some money, obtain a receipt, and ask the owner to create a custom-made degree. If someone demands verification later, a fine can be imposed, and the degree can be kept locked inside a safe. We will not let this issue go without getting the evidence from the PM,” he said.
Responding to a question from the media about AAP’s ‘Degree Dikhao’ campaign, Shri Jasmine Shah said that the issue of the PM’s degree should not be dismissed as an elitist issue. He said, “Education is not an elitist issue and every family understands its significance. Education is important for everyone, regardless of their background. The BJP’s message seems to be that education is not important, that it is just about paying fees and getting a piece of paper. But is that really what we want for our nation?”
He criticised the BJP’s stance on education and alleged that they promote a culture that diminishes the value of education. Shri Jasmine Shah argued that this mindset was detrimental to the country’s development and would prevent India from being a dominant force in the world. He added, “We cannot allow this mindset to take hold, where education is degraded and devalued, schools and colleges are closed, and fake degrees are accepted without question. If we want India to be a global leader, we need to invest in education and ensure that every student has access to quality education.”
He also expressed concern about the prevalence of fake degrees and the government’s lack of action in verifying them. He concluded, saying, “A more pressing issue is that the ruling party is not willing to verify allegations of fake degrees, even for the most powerful politicians in the country. This sends the message that fake degrees are acceptable and anyone can obtain one by paying money to a printing shop. We are fighting against a mindset that devalues education, closes schools and colleges, and condones the use of fake degrees. This begs the question: what is happening in our country?
The Aam Aadmi Party’s ‘Degree Dikhao Campaign’ brings to light the issue of transparency in politics and the importance of elected officials disclosing their educational qualifications. The AAP’s move is a bold step towards accountability and transparency in Indian politics, promoting the significance of education and encouraging the youth to pursue higher education. The initiative also highlights AAP’s commitment to valuing education and expertise in mainstream politics.